Internship Project
Biology and Neuroscience

CT-Based Fossil Vertebrate Anatomy at Museum für Naturkunde Berlin

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Department of Biology; 
Museum für Naturkunde, Leibniz-Institute for Evolution and Biodiiversity Science (MfN)
Subject Area
Evolutionary Biology, Vertebrate Paleontology
Summer Term Internship
Project Supervisor(s)
Prof. Jörg Fröbisch, PhD
Academic Level
Advanced undergraduate students (at least 2nd year)
Graduate students
PhD students
Further Information
Project Type
Academic Research
Project Content
The application of computed tomography (CT) in Vertebrate Paleontology has proven to be very useful for examining the internal anatomy of various vertebrates (specifically tetrapods) and testing hypotheses regarding the interrelationships of the major early tetrapod groups. Amniotes (fully terrestrial vertebrates) represent one of the major lineages of vertebrates with an evolutionary history of about 320 million years. However, there are still many uncertainties regarding the early evolutionary history of the group during the Paleozoic. This project will involve utilizing micro-CT data to investigate and digitally segment the internal skull (endocranial) anatomy of an early amniote. This will also include anatomical description of the newly revealed anatomy and performing updated phylogenetic analyses. This research will contribute important information that will lead to a more thorough understanding of early amniote evolution.
Tasks for Interns
  • Segmentation of CT data using specialty software VGStudioMax or Amira
  • Literature research
  • Anatomical description
  • Phylogenetic analysis
Academic Level
Advanced undergraduate students (at least 2nd year)
Graduate students
PhD students
  • Background in Vertebrate Anatomy
  • Additional beneficial skills:
    • Background in Vertebrate Paleontology
    • Experience with CT segmentation
    • Experience with phylogenetic analysis 
Expected Preparation
Readings into vertebrate paleontology and specifically into the early evolution of amniotes (reptiles and synapsids).
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For more information on the Humboldt Internship Program or the project, please contact the program coordinator.